Ribavirin may cause birth defects and/or death in unborn babies that are exposed to it during pregnancy. If you or your sexual partner are or may be pregnant, do not take ribavirin, and contact your doctor right away. Women and men who are taking ribavirin must avoid pregnancy by using two forms of reliable birth control (such as latex condoms and birth control pills) during treatment with this drug and for 6 months after this medication has been stopped. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Patients with certain types of heart disease should not use ribavirin because it can lower your red blood cell level (anemia). This may worsen your condition and can lead to a possibly fatal heart attack. Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you have had any heart problems or chest pain.
Ribavirin should never be used alone to treat hepatitis C infections.Who should not take ribavirin?
Ribavirin is used in combination with other antiviral medications (such as interferon, sofosbuvir) to treat chronic (long-lasting) hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver. Chronic hepatitis C infection can cause serious liver problems such as scarring (cirrhosis), or liver cancer. Ribavirin works by reducing the amount of hepatitis C virus in your body, which may help your liver recover.
It is not known if this treatment can prevent you from passing the virus to others. Do not share needles, and practice "safer sex" (including the use of latex condoms) to lower the risk of passing the virus to others.
OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used to treat severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking ribavirin and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Also read the drug information for your other antiviral medication(s).
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily with food.
Carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage and length of treatment is based on your age, weight, medical condition, and response to treatment.
This medication works best when the amount of drug in your body is kept at a constant level. Take this drug at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
Continue to take ribavirin and your other antiviral medication(s) for the full length of time prescribed, even if your symptoms disappear after a short time. Stopping any of the drugs too early may result in a return of the infection.
Drink plenty of water while being treated with this medication. Doing so will decrease the risk of serious side effects.
Nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, trouble sleeping, cough, low appetite, weight loss or gain, dry skin, or changes in taste/hearing may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: unusual tiredness/weakness, fast/pounding/irregular heartbeat, muscle/joint pain, vision changes, easy bruising/bleeding, dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking ribavirin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell anemia, low hemoglobin, thalassemia), kidney disease, other liver problems (e.g., autoimmune hepatitis), heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing problems, pancreas problems (e.g., pancreatitis), diabetes.
This drug may make you dizzy or cause blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at greater risk for anemia while using this drug.
Ribavirin must not be used during pregnancy. It is recommended that female patients or female partners of male patients take a pregnancy test before starting this medication. A pregnancy test should also be taken every month while using this medication and for 6 months after this medication is stopped. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away. See also Warning section.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because of the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this medication is not recommended.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: antacids, didanosine, zidovudine.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., pregnancy, blood counts/hemoglobin, liver function, thyroid function, heart function/EKG, eye exams) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects.
This medication has been prescribed for your current condition only. Do not use it later for another infection unless told to do so by your doctor. A different medication may be necessary in those cases. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator away from light and moisture. Do not freeze. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised July 2016. Copyright(c) 2016 First Databank, Inc.
With WebMD's Medicine Cabinet, you can check interactions with drugs.Go to medicine cabinet